Strategic Analysis of Shiraz Medical Tourism Industry: A Mixed Method Study

  • Mohammad Kazem Rahimi Zarchi Shiraz University of Medical Sciences
  • Alireza Jabbari Isfahan University of Medical Sciences
  • Nahid Hatam Shiraz University of Medical Sciences
  • Peivand Bastani Shiraz University of Medical Sciences
  • Tahereh Shafaghat Shiraz University of Medical Sciences
  • Omid Fazelzadeh Shiraz University of Medical Sciences
Keywords: Strategic Analysis, Medical Tourism, Health Tourism, SWOT


Background: The connection between healthcare and tourism industries in many countries has created one of the largest service industries, i.e. "medical tourism industry". Medical tourism services bring significant benefits to the countries.  This study aimed to examine internal and external factors affecting Shiraz medical tourism industry as well as the potential capabilities of the industry.Materials and Methods: This applied research is a mixed method study using both qualitative and quantitative methods in 2017. The study population consisted of all organizations involved in the medical tourism industry. In this study, the deductive qualitative content analysis was employed to determine the internal and external factors affecting Shiraz medical tourism industry. Furthermore, the SWOT technique was used to analyze the data obtained from individual interviews and meetings with expert panels. Results: Internal and external factors were classified into 4 main themes (namely strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) and 10 sub-themes, of which five cases (FORMM) were related to internal factors (i.e. finance, production and products (operations), research and development, marketing and management) and five cases (STEPC) were associated with external factors including socio-cultural, technology, economy, political and competitive ones. Also, the matrix of the internal and external factors indicated an offensive zone for this industry. Conclusions: This industry can make use of the strengths and opportunities to confront the threats and negative points through identifying internal and external factors in order to enjoy benefits such as job creation and revenue gains. [GMJ.2018;7:e1021]


Han H, Hwang J. Multi dimensions of the perceived benefits in a medical hotel and their roles in international travelers' decision-making process. Int J Hosp Manag,2013; 35: 100-8.

Han H, Sean Hyun S. Customer retention in the medical tourism industry: Impact of quality, satisfaction, trust and price reasonableness. Tourism Management, 2015; 46: 20-9.

Sheppard C A, Lester E L W, Karmali SH, de Gara C J . Birch D W. The cost of bariatric medical tourism on the Canadian healthcare system. Am J Surg 2014; 207:743-7.


Lunt N, Jin K N,Horsfall D, Hanefeld J. Insights on medical tourism: markets as networks and the role of strong ties. Korean SocSci J 2014; 41:19–37.

Moghavvemi S, Ormond M, Musa Gh, Mohamed IsaCh R,ThirumoorthiTh, Zulkhairi Bin Mustapha M, et al. Connecting with prospective medical tourists online: A cross-sectional analysis of private hospital websites promoting medical tourism in India, Malaysia and Thailand. Tourism Management 2017;58:154-163.

Jabbari A, Shafaghat T, Rahimizarchi M K, Kavosi1 Z, Keshtkaran A. Medical tourism in Shiraz. Int J Health Syst Disaster Manage 2013;1(1):43-7

KhanSh, Alam Sh. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: A potential destination for medical Tourism. J T U med sc 2014; 9: 257-62.

Ormond M, Mainil T. Government and governance strategies in medical tourism.handbook on medical tourism and patient mobility. 2015.

Heung V C S, Kucukusta D, Song, H. Medical tourism development in Hong Kong: an assessment of the barriers. Tourism Management, 2011;32:995-1005.

Patients Beyond Borders. Estimated number of medical travelers by country: 2013. Chapel Hill, NC: Patients Beyond Borders; 2014

Mary S S. Medical tourism in Asia: An overview. Scholars World-IRMJCR 2014; 2:131–6.

Lunt N, Smith R, Stephen T, Horsfall D, Mannion R. Medical Tourism: Treatments, Markets and Health System Implications: A scoping review. The opinions expressed and arguments employed here are the responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD

Manouchehri J, Farhangi A K, Someeh S, Shakibaei E. The challenges of kish health tourism: A case study. IJ Basic Appl Sci 2014; 3(3):335-43

The world and Iran therapeutic tourism. Trade promotion organization of Iran, Vice President Marketing and market investigation. The Office of review the goods and services market, The 1st ed. 2007 Jun (in Persian).

Suthin K, Assenov I, Tirasatayapitak A. Medical Tourism: Can supply keep up with the demand. Proceedings, APac-CHRIE & Asia Pacific Tourism Association Joint Conference.23-27 May 2007, Beijing, China.

Jabbari A , RahimiZarchi M K , Kavosi Z , Shafaghat T , Keshtkaran A. The Marketing Mix and Development of Medical Tourism in Shiraz. Mat Soc Med 2013; 25: 32-6.

PMid:23678337 PMCid:PMC3650564

Babaesmailli M, Arbabshirani B, Golmah V. Integrating analytical network process and fuzzy logic to prioritize the strategies – a case study for tile manufacturing firm. Expert Syst. Appl 2012; 39: 925–35.

GaoChY, Peng, DH. Consolidating SWOT Analysis with Nonhomogeneous Uncertain Preference Information. Knowl.-Based Syst 2011; 24: 796-808 .

Gorener A, Toker K, Ulucay K. Application of Combined SWOT and AHP: A Case Study fora Manufacturing Firm. Procedia Soc Behav Sci 2012; (58): 1525 – 34.

Mohammad Pur M , Alem Tabriz A. SWOT Analysis using of Modified Fuzzy QFD – A CaseStudy for Strategy Formulation in Petrokaran Film Factory. Procedia Soc Behav Sci 2012;41: 322 – 33.

Zarea k, Mehri-Tekmeha J, Karimi S.A. SWOT framework for analyzing the electricity supply chain using anintegrated AHP methodology combined with fuzzy-TOPSIS. international strategic management review 2015; 3: 66–80.

Salar M,Salar O.Determining pros and cons of franchising by using SWOT analysis. Procedia Soc Behav Sci 2014;122: 515 – 19.

Mogalakwe M. The Use of Documentary Research Methods in Social Research. African Sociological Review 2006;10:221-30.

David FR. Strategic Management: Concepts and Cases. 12th ed. FT Prentice Hall,2009.

Yaghmaei F. Valid and reliable measure of the research tools. tehran: golban; 2011.

Fawcett J., Desanto-Madeya S. Contemporary nursing knowledge: Analysis and evaluation of nursing models and theories. FA Davis, 2012.

Jabbari A. Designing a Model for Iran Medical Tourism..Ph.D Dissertation. School of Management and Medical Information, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, 2009. [ In Persian].

Delgoshaei B, Ravaghi H, Abolhassani N. Importance-Performance Analysis of Medical Tourism in Iran from Medical Tourists and Medical Services Provider's Perspective: 2011. MEJSR 2012; 11: 1541-47.

Salimpour H, Tajvar M, Arab M. A survey on the current statues of exporting medical products and services to abroad in Iran (medical tourism). Homaye Salamat 2007; 3: 12-22.(in persian)

Rerkrujipimol J, Assenov I. Marketing Strategies for Promoting Medical Tourism in Thailand. JTHCA 2011; 3: 95-105

Avinash M. Waikar Samuel D. Cappel1, Uday S. Tate. Challenges and Opportunities for Developing Countries from Medical Tourism. JBE 2011; 2:397-404.

Ayoubian A, Tourani S, Hashemidehaghi Z. Medical Tourism Attraction of Tehran Hospitals. Int J Travel Med Glob Health. 2013;1:95-8.

Afshani A. The role of public relations in the development of health tourism industry, the third regional conference of International Health, Orumieh October 13-14, 2010

Johnston R, Crooks V A, Cero A , Labonte R.Snyder J, Flores W G .Providers' perspectives on inbound medical tourism in Central America and the Caribbean: factors driving and inhibiting sector development and their health equity implications. Glob Health Action 2016; 9:1-10.

Delgoshaei B, Jabbari AR, farzin MR, sherbafchizade N, Tabibi J. The present state of medical tourism: a case study of Iran. Payesh Quarterly 2011; 11: 157-65(in Persian)

Ghanbari S, Hajinejad A, Rahmani P. Formulating Strategic Plan of Medical Tourism Development. Int J Travel Med Glob Health 2014; 2:149-54.

How to Cite
Rahimi Zarchi, M. K., Jabbari, A., Hatam, N., Bastani, P., Shafaghat, T., & Fazelzadeh, O. (2018). Strategic Analysis of Shiraz Medical Tourism Industry: A Mixed Method Study. Galen Medical Journal, 7, e1021.
Original Article